John Beilein's Round Table

Coach Beilein on the Wolverines (13-12, 6-7) getting ready for Penn State (9-16, 1-12) tonight at 6 PM in Crisler Arena (TV: BTN).

Coach Beilein: "They've been right in every single game but two or three. I think the Wisconsin game at home and I think there might one other game. They were beating Wisconsin by a lot at Wisconsin, or they were beating them by nine with a minute to go. It's not surprising that they were able to win given the fact that they've been in every game. So just a team that is searching for the right mix and guys to know their roles after the guys last year including (Jamelle) Cornley had huge roles on that team."

Question: Is it better for you or not as good for you that they won a game in the Big Ten?

Coach Beilein: "I do not know. I do not worry about those things. All I want us to do is play our best. Sometimes our best may not be good enough but just play our best."

Question: In terms of motivation for the players are you using the post season carrot do you use something…?

Coach Beilein: "Like I said before those opportunities multiply when you just take advantage of each opportunity you have. You just do not know what is down the road. It is the old standard one game at a time. We also tell them how short the season is that these opportunities do not last forever. This is how many practices we have to get better before the Big Ten Tournament. This is how many practices we have left in the season. We're trying to stay on this thing so there is a sense of urgency as far as team improvement."

Question: Do you talk about specific goals at this point or just general?

Coach Beilein: "Just general, getting better and playing our best."

Question: A lot of the players said that during those difficult workouts leading up to the Minnesota game, they saw your full commitment to the end of the season; what have you seen out of them in terms of their commitment even after…?

Coach Beilein: "With winning obviously it is easier to coach guys after winning, although they probably learn more after losing. There was probably some disappointment going into practice that we got after them pretty good about 10 or 12 things in the Iowa game that could have proved very costly had we lost it. That's the way I've always coached. Every year we haven't been in the NCAA tournament, you just keep coaching right through it."

Question: How much of that in the Iowa game was them just playing so well offensively and how much was your defenses lapses?

Coach Beilein: "Iowa's a tough team to guard if they're shooting threes well because they are a very versatile team. They're smaller and very versatile. The difference really is that we would be sitting here talking – if Stu (Douglass) does not make that three and they make one more three…that's how simply this is guy. We can say whatever we want but if we make two more shots a game and some other people miss two more shots a game, I still think we are six or seventh place in the Big Ten and who knows what's going to happen right here. That's why I do not think it is X's and O's and I do not think it is psyche. It is sometimes how the ball bounced determines people's season when your not one of these teams that has an abundance of depth, abundance of talent it comes down to a lot of that."

Question: You guys have shot so well the last couple of games, you have to have some theory on why that is, right?

Coach Beilein: "I've got all kinds of theories on threes, but I do not know if any of them are worthy anything. I've got theories that you can get arm weary that you could be leg weary, you are shooting too much, not shooting enough. You're not being patient enough, all of those things. I do not know where it all fits in because we made great shots but we've been missing them all year long. Maybe we're just more comfortable taking them now."

Question: What is it about Talor Battle that makes him…?

Coach Beilein: "One of the true points…a point guard who can really score. That really is…there are not a lot of point guards that can also score. He has an ability to get to the rim. A lot of guys can get to the rim, but they can't get the ball up. He has hesitation and funk and to his game around the rim that allows him to score and drawn fouls. He's obviously quick and changes speeds and all those things. He can shoot it deep, take the ball to the rim, run a team, assist the ball, keep his turnovers down. They're only averaging eight turnovers a game right now as a team in the Big Ten. That's the only stats I look at right now is Big Ten stats and I suggest you guys do the same. Those other stats do not really mean…it's the Big Ten stats that you should look at."

Question: That game there was so weird, you guys were down so much and came back.

Coach Beilein: "I watched obviously the tape and then go to the highlights and I just see this down 16 with 12 minutes to go or whatever it was. It was astronomical."

Question: So you only showed them one half?

Coach Beilein: "No we show them bits of everything. We never show even continuous halves. It's all spotted up into good plays, bad plays, instructional plays. The scoreboard is always superimposed so they see it."

Question: Blake (McLimans) was a big baseball in high school, has he mentioned anything to you about maybe trying to join the baseball team after your season ends?

Coach Beilein: "No he hasn't."

Question: When you talked earlier in the week about Manny (Harris) trusting his teammates, when you see it on the court what do you see?

Coach Beilein: "When he ends up…it is a matter that I think he has a lot of confidence in himself, which is great to have. At some time he could end up passing up great opportunities for other people. It's not like, hey I'm not passing it. It's not a mistrust is that I think he has an awful lot of trust in himself. At the college level there are two or three guys coming off and giving help on him hoping that he won't hit the open guy and then they can defend him. I think that was the first game all year and he still had a pretty good, he did not have a layup in that game. He told me that he did not have a layup in that game. He missed a couple of easy ones. He did not have a layup in that game, which usually a guy who gets to the basket that's an amazing stat. He told me that, I did not know. I do not keep track of that."

Question: Do you have a favorite winter Olympic sport? Do you pay attention at all?

Coach Beilein: "My sister said this to me being the eighth and ninth kids. We were always put at the front of the toboggan (laughter). We had a couple of toboggan's and six or seven people would go on it and John and Beth were always in the front and just getting blasted (laughter). That's what I remember. Just knowing that and then looking at bobsledding, pretty exciting to be able to do that. I'm just glad I was not in the early days of the luge or bobsledding that would not have been good."

Question: Darius (Morris) has struggled with his shot; how much of it is a confidence thing?

Coach Beilein: "I think all shooting has some confidence elements to it. He's just got to work at it and work at it and be able to make them in practice so he's able to make them in games and just keeps working at it. Sometimes it fundamentally looks great, other times it struggles. It looks great more than it does not look great. You just see it in games. He's just got to continue to vary his game and work at it and practice and if he does not do better during the season than it motivates him for the offseason."


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